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 Regardless of what Earthjustice says, this isnít a part of the Klamath Project.

One of the biggest challenges about Klamath Basin agriculture are the false narratives that get treated as fact. Maybe itís accidental, but in most cases itís calculated misinformation to push an agenda. When these bits of fiction get pushed out to the public, it creates an atmosphere that makes it hard for everyone up and down the Klamath River to find a solution to save fish and farms.

Case in point Ė this video created by Earthjustice. The video tells about the Yurok Tribe and their relationship to the salmon of the Klamath River, and then Earthjustice puts the entire blame on the Klamath Project (and by extension Project irrigators) for warming water and drastic fish kills. And to emphasize their point, at around the 48-second mark Earthjustice shows a dam with green, soupy water behind it. The problem is that dam has nothing to do with the Klamath Project. Yes, thereís seven dams and hundreds of miles of canals, but that dam isnít one of them. And none of them are that large.


Obviously the misrepresentation of the dam is a play to gain sympathy for their cause. Who isnít against green, algae-rich water? However, Earthjustice is content to let the viewer believe that Klamath Basin family farmers and ranchers are killing Upper Klamath Lake as well as all the salmon in the Klamath River. The deeper you get into the video, the more you find Earthjustice has not problem playing fast and loose with the truth while ignoring inconvenient information.

Letís continue with their misleading (and often false) assertions about Upper Klamath Lake. Watching the video, Earthjustice would lead you to believe that Upper Klamath Lake is the only source of water for the Klamath River. What they fail to mention is the Klamath River has more tributaries than just Upper Klamath Lake and the Klamath Project. There are several tributaries that flow into the Klamath River, including the Scott, Trinity and Shasta rivers.

Another inconvenient fact they donít include is that various Federal agencies view the Klamath Project as the ďonly knobĒ to turn for the salmon. Regardless that water is naturally warmer due to the eutrophic nature of Upper Klamath Lake and bad for salmon, Earthjustice doesnít bother to include that information, nor that the Trinity, Shasta or Scott rivers have historically provided much colder (and much needed) water to the Klamath. Instead they focus only on the Klamath Irrigation Project.

The Earthjustice video also claims the Klamath Project takes half the water out of Klamath Lake each year. That only happens when itís an incredibly wet year, and last year (2019) the Klamath Irrigation Project only received 92% delivery despite the fact the snow pack was 126% of average and precipitation was 104%. This year? Project irrigators received less than 25% of their allocation and Off-Project irrigators were cut off in March.

A photo from 1920-21 showing the Link River dry.

While on the subject of the lake, they neglect to mention the water in it is stored water. Stored water specifically for irrigators of the Klamath Project. Earthjustice may feel entitled to claim itís for salmon, but is historically, before the Klamath Project, due to geological features of the Klamath River and Upper Klamath Lake, in dry years very little water would have made it down stream. Even the Link River, which flows from Upper Klamath Lake, would occasionally run dry. If it werenít for the Klamath Project, in a drought year like 2020 the river would be much lower and drier.

Then thereís Earthjusticeís claim that 50% of the water is diverted to the Project every year. The Klamath Project provides irrigation for only 2% of the land in the entire watershed, and only takes 3 Ė 4% of the flow. Where does the other 96 Ė 97% go? To the Pacific Ocean.

Earthjustice also decides to not discuss other threats to salmon. Over-fishing has tremendously hurt salmon numbers over the last century, and some believe that the use of gill nets hurts the salmon population.

< A large colony of sea lions at the mouth of the Klamath River

What about predators? A huge colony of sea lions feasts on salmon at the mouth of the Klamath, while orcas (which are a species that Earthjustice is proud to sue on behalf of) feed on them in deeper waters. Even in the river, their spawn fall prey to brown trout.

The fact is Klamath Basin family farmers and ranchers have been working to create wetlands, repair riprarian habitats and work with other stakeholders to improve conditions for sucker fish and salmon for several decades. These stories donít get the press they deserve, and they donít help sell Earth Justiceís simplistic narrative of ďag bad, lawyers goodĒ. Klamath Basin ag has been doing the hard work of improving conditions while Earthjustice hasnít done a damn thing but levy lawsuits against those who are on the ground making things better.

Klamath Basin agriculture and ag everywhere has served as the boogie man for grossly misleading and irresponsible propaganda for too long. Farmers and ranchers all across America need to call out bad players like Earthjustice when their misinformation campaigns are found. Stake holders in the entirety of the Klamath River basin still have a lot of work to do, and when outlets like Earthjustice publish divisive content, it only makes our work harder.

KBC NEWS editor comments: A little background in Earthjusticeís work: Not only does Earthjustice write fake news about the Klamath Project, they are a major legal team (with financial support from George Soros) for those suing us. Their clients include PCFFA/Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen and IFFR/Institute For Fisheries Resources (created by PCFFA), Center for Biological Diversity, Environmental Defense Fund, Friends of the River, Greenpeace, Klamath Riverkeeper, Klamath and Karuk Tribes, Klamath Siskiyou Wildlands, Sierra Club, Trout Unlimited, Waterkeeper, World Wildlife Fund, and hundreds more clients. Some of these groups have litigated against us in the Takings Case, lawsuits against us for our water quality, and lawsuits to shut down Klamath Basin irrigation. Check out EJís list of clients: https://earthjustice.org/our_work/clients.
Klamath Riverkeeper has been involved in lawsuits against miners, farmers and ranchers. Their board of directors is mostly comprised of the Yurok, Klamath and Karuk Tribes. Their goal: Undam the Klamath. Karuk spokesman Craig Tucker is Klamath Riverkeeper board member, former KBRA/Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement voting member, and co-chairman of the 2020 Coalition of the Willing along with Family Farm Alliance Executive Director Dan Keppen. Craig Tucker was on the steering committee of Klamath Riverkeeper before it spun off from umbrella group Klamath Forest Alliance (remember the lumber mills and spotted owls?). Green Corps trained activist Craig Tucker: "we worked with the Klamath Project irrigators, the enemies of the tribes since those guys showed upÖĒ 
Here is more information for your enlightenment:
Karuk Tribe/Tucker: 

Glen Spain/PCFFA: http://klamathbasincrisis.org/whosewho/glen_spain.htm
Coalition of the Willing: 


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